Oaklawn Barn Notes: Cox's First Winner for Shadwell Stable Comes at Oaklawn

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact Jennifer Hoyt, Jhoyt@oaklawn.com

or (501) 363-4305

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Cox’s First Winner for Shadwell Stable Comes at Oaklawn

Trainer Brad Cox’s 1,948th career North American victory was noteworthy because of who it was for.

Cawkab, who broke his maiden in Friday’s third race at Oaklawn, represented Cox’s first winner for Shadwell Stable, the famed global breeding and racing operation now overseen by Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum following the death of her father, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in March 2021.

Cox said late Friday afternoon that the royally bred Cawkab, a 3-year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, is the first horse he’s had for Shadwell, which has downsized its footprint following Sheikh Hamdan’s death.

Cox, the reigning two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, said he was contacted by Shadwell late last summer and Cawkab moved to his barn around Sept. 1.

“Just got a call from (Shadwell), asking if I was willing to take some horses for them,” Cox said. “Obviously, you’re going to say yes. It was good. Obviously, they’ve moved in a little bit different direction. It looks like they definitely want to continue to have a presence in American racing with Sheikha Hissa taking over. Just glad to be a part of their operation here in America.”

Cawkab is a half-brother to, among others, millionaire Grade 1 winner Girvin and Midnight Bourbon, the ill-fated millionaire Grade 3 winner. Shadwell purchased Cawkab for $500,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Cawkab finished fourth in his career debut, a 1-mile maiden special weight, Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. Ridden for the first time Friday by Joe Talamo, Cawkab stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the $90,000 maiden special weight for 3-year-olds and up and scored by 2 ¾ lengths. Cawkab paid $4.60 as the favorite in the six-horse field. The winning time over a fast track was 1:44.92.

“He definitely acted like a two-turn horse once we picked him up, breezed him a few times,” Cox said. “It looked like he wanted ground. We ran him one turn first time out and kind of showed he would get better with experience and ground. He took a step forward today.”

Cox said he doesn’t have any other horses for Shadwell, but added he is supposed to “have a group of 2-year-olds coming we’re excited about.”

“We’ll see how it goes,” Cox said.

Cox already trains for internationally prominent Godolphin LLC, which was founded by Sheikh Hamdan’s, brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Cox saddled champion Essential Quality, a Godolphin homebred, to win the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds in 2021 at Oaklawn.

Cawkab marked Shadwell’s 26th victory at Oaklawn, the first coming in 2001. Arkansas native Dan Peitz has 23 winners for Shadwell at Oaklawn, highlighted by Mufajaah in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes and $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares in 2015. Trainer Michael Pino won two races for Shadwell at the 2006 meeting.

Notable runners for Shadwell in America include 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor, 2006 Belmont winner Jazil and 2021 champion 3-year-old filly Malathaat for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. Shadwell was honored with an Eclipse Award as the country’s top owner in 2007.

Cawkab was the first victory of the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting for Cox and his 266th overall in Hot Springs. Cox was Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer last season with 31 victories. He won a meet-high five stakes races, including the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds with Cyberknife.

Finish Lines

Friday marked the first day of the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting with a fast track. … After missing the first three days of meeting because of riding suspension dating to last season and planned trip to Venezuela for the Clasico del Caribe, Ricardo Santana Jr. won two races Friday. Santana, an eight-time Oaklawn riding champion, won the sixth race aboard favored Communication Memo ($4.40) for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and the ninth race aboard favored Allo Enry ($4) for trainer Carl Deville and breeder/owner Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs. The double pushed Santana’s career Oaklawn total to 673, No. 7 all time. It was his 321st victory at Oaklawn for Asmussen. Communication Memo was Asmussen’s 9,960th career North American victory and his 821st at Oaklawn (No. 2 all time), according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. It was the 9,962nd career worldwide victory for Asmussen, who has collected a record 12 Oaklawn training titles. Asmussen is already North America’s all-time winningest trainer. … French jockey Mickaelle Michel recorded her first career Oaklawn victory in Friday’s eighth race aboard Seize the Night ($33.40). It was the sixth victory in the United States for Michel and her first for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Seize the Night marked the first Oaklawn victory since the October death of prominent Marshall, Ark., owner Willis Horton. Seize the Night is campaigned by Horton’s son, Kevin Horton (Willis Horton Racing). … Trainer Matt Shirer recorded his first career Oaklawn victory in Friday’s fourth race with Good Penny ($7) for major client Ten Strike Racing. Good Penny was one of two winners on the card for jockey Francisco Arrieta. … Memphis, Tenn.-based Ten Strike (founders Marshall Gramm and Clay Sanders) also won Friday’s seventh race with Tiger Moon ($41), who was saddled by trainer Lindsay Schultz. It was Ten Strike’s third victory of the young meeting, all with different trainers. Its first victory came with Bentley Combs. … Stand Proud, a 4-year-old half-brother to champion Maximum Security, finished third in Friday’s third race, a 1-mile maiden special weight, for trainer John Ortiz and breeder/owner Gary and Mary West. The Wests also campaigned Maximum Security.